Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Loginmiraclelogistics
Asso.prof.(commerce & Management)
Rkn61
Hr Manager
Ssushr
Pune

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Please suggest the lawful ways to undertake a departmental enquiry in case of Govt. employees under this COVID 19 situation when none of the participants wishes to take part in the inquiry, physically as well as through video conferencing.
It is not surprising to see almost all departmental enquiries instituted against Govt.employees always take years to conclude one way or other because of so many reasons conveniently dubbed as " administrative reasons " on the side of the Govt. or at the behest of delinquent employees themselves. Since the CoVid-19 lock down is very much real, the reluctance of the participants is understandable. So, in my opinion, the enquiry can be postponed till normalcy is restored.
Hi Ashish,
In the days of SC itself using electronic devices to hear urgent cases it's not reasonably possible to conduct a full fledged DE. As you know govts are directing offices to function with only 30% or 50 % staff in one shift. In the circumstances it's not appropriate to rush thru' the DE. Is't early stages of enquiry or advanced stages?. As a principle, reasonable opportunity shall be given to all parties involved. But when no one attends how it's going to be possible to proceed with the DE, ex-parte ? Not advisable. However if they are related to COVID-19 violations then it may be different options.

Sir,
Both the circumstances are available i.e cases are under initial stages also and advanced stages too, and that, in one of the case, the Staff Officer concerned is about to retire, so, was thinking about some logical and lawful remedies available to the management towards undertake of departmental enquiry through video conferencing/other available modes for early conclusion of the case; amidst COVID 19 scenario. Even, the union (office bearers) are seeking time citing the pandemic situation in the trade union letter head on account of being DR of the CSE , with a straightaway denial of the hold of enquiry through video conference. please suggest lawful remedial measures.

For better understanding of your case, pl.consult an advocate of repute in IR matters in your place to help you out in the circumstances.
In the cases where all witnesses have been deposed and cross examined and only final argumets are pending, The Enquiry officer may ask parties to file written arguments and based on all evidence deposed and cross examination and also documentary evidence, the Enquiry officer can submit his recommondation to the appointing authority for taking further decision. In cases where witnesses have not deposed or cross examination is pending or where documents have to be filed, the enquiry officer has no option but to adjourned the matter till parties able to attend the enquiry after availability of transportation.
Pl.examine whether there is any possibility of 'suspension' pending enquiry. Ensure, if it could be resorted, payment of subsistence allow during pendency.
In view of the reasons explained in your post, the only alternate available is for the Enquiry officer
to send notice of adjournment, to both Management & delinquent employee, on a date mutually convenient for EO, Management & DE and his co-worker.

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